Childhood is a magical, joyous time, but there will be moments when parents have to speak to their children about tough things – things that no one really wants to talk about. It’s all part of growing up. What are the hardest things for parents to explain to their children?
Death is a truly difficult thing to explain because no one really understands it. It’s easy (relatively speaking) to explain the biological process of death, but what about everything else? What about trying to explain grief, or discussing the afterlife? These are horribly hard questions to even begin thinking about, and when it comes to children, it’s even harder.
Sometimes the cancer discussion can be part of the death discussion, but it doesn’t have to be – after all, the good news is that not all cancers are terminal. However, terminal or not, it’s a terrible disease, and if someone your child knows has it, they need to know that that person is likely to go through several processes that may cause them to react to situations differently and change their appearance. You may need to talk about the different treatments that their loved one will go through, such as chemo and radiotherapy, and the side effects; hair loss can be alarming to children. Remember to reassure them that cancer is not contagious, though – they can (and should) still go and see their friend or family member.
Driving While Intoxicated
Drink while intoxicated is taboo in our culture, but it still happens, and it can wreck lives. If they know someone who has been caught for driving under the influence of alcohol and had to go to court, chances are high that they want to know all about it, especially if they now have to use a monitech device before they drive. It’s hard to explain to children that people sometimes do things that they know are wrong, especially if it has caused a lot of damage, but use this as an opportunity to show your child that every action has consequences, and you have to be responsible for them.
Another difficult discussion to have with your child is about sex, and it is something that a child will definitely be curious about at some point. It’s likely that they will have heard something about it at school, or on TV, for example, and they’ll want to know all about it. It’s hard for a parent to explain as it is embarrassing, and it can feel as though your child is growing up too fast, but it’s better not to gloss over things as important as how life is made.
How do you explain why two people no longer love one another, when explaining what love is is almost impossible to begin with? If it is the child’s parents who are divorcing, it will be even harder to explain, and it’s important that whoever is doing the explaining doesn’t alienate the child from the other parent. That’s not fair because it’s not the child’s fault. The child needs to be reassured that they will still be loved by both parents, even if they no longer all live together. It’s a horrible time, but it will pass, and everyone will (hopefully) be much happier afterwards.